Tales from the media low rent district


It’s been slow going in the station trading market for the past several years. Many stations bought prior to or at the peak of the post-Telecom speculative years have been going to new owners at discounted prices, sometimes under the auspices of a receiver. But to really get into the nitty-gritty of low-finance deals, welcome to the world of LPFM.

The station in this case is WSUB-LP, a low power FM licensed to Ashaway RI. Its modest 100 W signal beams into an area that also encompasses the community of Bradford RI, not far from Rhode Island’s border with Connecticut. Long-distance drivers on I-95 who happen to be tuned to 96.7 MHz can hear the station for a minute or two.

The station is going from Washington County Chamber of Commerce to The Buzz Alternative Radio Foundation.

As is the case with all LPFMs, WSUB is a noncommercial property. The financial portion of the application delves not into the terms of sale – it’s being transferred for no consideration — but dwells instead on the ability of the transferee to keep it up and running as a going concern in the immediate future.

The application notes, “The Buzz Alternative Radio Foundation certifies that liquid assets are on hand for the first six months of operation. This includes the tower monthly rent of $550, monthly electric bill of $96 at the tower, $85 at the studio and monthly phone bill of $200 per month. As an LPFM, there is no financial consideration for the acquisition of WSUB-LP.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It is clear that if the FCC has a sense of humor, it doesn’t go so far as to allow it to affect its decisions as to the suitability of a party-of-interest in a licensee based solely on their name. The transfer application for this station has it going from Vito DiPaola to a group led by Jaime DiPaola – and as we all know, payola is a no-no in the radio business, regardless of station size or business model.